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April 16, 2015Kuwait City, KuwaitIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

ICE, CBP hosts intellectual property rights training in Kuwait

In a collaborative effort between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the two agencies hosted Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement training in Kuwait the week of March 22. It was the first training of its kind held in Kuwait in 10 years.

In addition to officials from HSI and CBP, representatives from top United States brands including General Motors, Apple, Nike, Oakley, Procter & Gamble, and Cisco also participated in the training of approximately 30 Kuwait customs inspectors. Brand owners provided training unique to their specific product lines to identify counterfeit items and dangers associated with inferior quality imitations. GM and Apple representatives covered vulnerable products including counterfeit air bags, brake components and iPhone chargers, a counterfeit which recently electrocuted a man in Thailand.  

“Manufacturers face tremendous pressure from international competitors to maintain low costs, which may drive them unwittingly to less expensive counterfeit products that have infiltrated legitimate global supply chains,” said Rich Goff, HSI Assistant Attaché. “The training focused on the hazards of counterfeit goods and their negative effect on innovation and the global economy.  We anticipate this training will increase seizures of counterfeit goods and create opportunities for HSI and Kuwait Customs to investigate the transnational criminal organizations behind this threat.”

Erick Osteen, CBP Deputy Attaché in Kuwait added, “It is a well-established fact that terrorists and criminal organizations profit from the sale of counterfeit goods, so it is very gratifying to work with HSI to achieve our mutual goals and experience the teamwork necessary to combat illegal and unsafe imports. Kuwait Customs Inspectors were reinvigorated by the information presented during this week of training.” 

HSI targets transnational criminal organizations that manufacture, smuggle, and distribute counterfeit products worldwide in order to keep counterfeit products off U.S. streets, many of which pose a direct threat to the health and safety of all Americans. The HSI-led IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 23 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety and the U.S. economy.